Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Blame it on Fraternites or Rape Culture?

After reading Chloe's post: Caitlin Flanagan calls for the end of fraternities @ Feministing.com
I quickly realized that this is a battle both myself and some feminist friends on campus have been dealing with all semester. What is the real problem here? Why don't we have more co-ed fraternity/sorority groups? Why don't we start a feminist one?

The problem in campus communities is that everyone wants to believe everything is all fantastic and wonderful. Women fail to remember how they hold their keys between their fingers as they walk to their car at night.  Men laugh and call women pathetic when multiple women go to the bathroom together. Women lock their doors the second they get in the car and check the back seat for unwanted company. We live our lives in fear.

A lot of these actions are imbedded within us because our mothers, sisters, aunt and grandmothers have taught us by sharing their stories and telling us that the night is not ours, we are never safe and every man is a potential rapist. We then want to believe that when we move away to college to further our education and break free of our gender stereotypes, that we will remain safe and protected. Well unfortunately we remain as women in this rape culture where women are seen as sexual objects and are asking to be raped when they dress up to go out on Thursday night.

I challenge you to educate yourself more on the rape culture in your country, state, town and university. When looking at a college and you see low statistics or no statistics of sexual assault, wonder why? Is this because it doesn't happen on this campus or because the majority of assaults are acquaintance rapes and women are terrified.

I challenge sororities to challenge fraternities.

I challenge fraternities to evaluate what they are doing for their philanthropy project. Check out Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, The White Ribbon Campaign, Mentors in Violence Prevention, Men Standing Up,  & Men Against Sexual Violence. There are many men out there making an change and letting women know that they are working for and with women to help end sexual assault, sexual violence and rape in our present rape culture.

I challenge you to challenge someone else.

Yours Truly, Samantha Coffin

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